NAIROBI, Kenya-Africa Lightweight champion, Nick Okoth, floored John Mwanzia to sail to the final at the ongoing Boxing Association of Kenya(BAK) Commonwealth Games qualifiers at Kaloleni Social Hall in Nairobi on Friday.
Okoth rained terror on Githurai based Mwanzia by dominating the opening round with a flurry of punches.
The Kenya Defence Forces(KDF) boxer intensified his assault in the second round before a wee timed left hook dropped Mwanzia to the canvas.
“To be honest, I didn’t feel the weight of this fight. I think my preparation was on another level. I hope the final on Saturday will be a bit challenging,” Okoth told SportPesa News.
Okoth attributed his victory to intense training he had over the festive season involving road work and muscle toning at the gym.
“I did a lot of sparring, I carried weights, I jogged and sprinted like a mad man at the Tena Grounds in Eastlands.Qualifying for a tournament like this needs focus and planning,” he said.
Okoth, who won bronze in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, said he is tuned for gold at the forthcoming 2018 Club Games in Gold Coast, Australia on April 4-15.
The greatest upset of the day at the historic Kaloleni Social Hall was the Flyweight contest pitting Mohammed Ali of Kongowea against Brian Agina of Coast.
Little known Ali surprised many after he pulled a 2-1 win over crowd favorite Agina, he clearly dominated the opening and closing rounds of the three-round fight.
“I worked hard on my mental strength, you can be physically fit but if you are not mentally prepared you will be defeated,” Ali said.
Matayo Keya of Kenyatta National Hospital edged out Nicodemus Kinuthia of Githurai/Kimbo 2-1 to book a berth in Light Fly final.
Simon Mulinge of KDF also won with same margin against Charles Macharia of Dallas to qualify for Flyweight final.
“Going by the showpiece we have had today, pundits are torn on who, between Ali and Mulinge, will clinch the Flyweight ticket to Gold Coast on Saturday,”BAK President John Kameta stressed.
The qualifiers have attracted 46 players who are competing for the 12 available slots extended to BAK by the National Olympics Committee of Kenya(NOCK).
“NOCK has granted us eight slots for men and four for women, competition is already stiffer due to the limited number of boxers needed to join Team Kenya for the Games,” said Kameta.
“We considered only players who took part in the league. We chose top four finishers in each category for the qualifiers.
“Winners of this ongoing qualifiers dubbed the Grand Finale will not only be part of Team Kenya for the Club Games, but will also be declared national champions in their weights,” Kameta reiterated.
The qualified boxers will be accompanied by sparring partners to residential camp to be announced by NOCK in the coming weeks.
Selected Commonwealth Qualifiers results
Matayo Keya(KNH) beat Nicodemus Kinuthia(Githurai/Kimbo) 2-1-Lightfly
Mohammed Ali (Kongowea) beat Brian Agina(Coast) 2-1-Flyweight
Simon Mulinge(KDF) beat Charles Macharia(Dallas) 2-1-Flyweight
Nick Okoth(KDF) beat John Mwanzia(Githurai/Kimbo) on KO second round-Lightweight